We're having fried goat for dinner tonight!
By Peter D'Entremont
That wasn’t the plan. My wife and I were in the heart of western Texas, the middle of a trip across the western US on our tandem bike. It was Springtime and the weather was changeable, to say the least. We had been dodging tornados and pushing against headwinds for the past week. The upcoming day was not going to be easy with the forecast for strong winds, in our face of course. We left at daybreak to get a head start before the wind kicked into high gear. It was fine for the first twenty miles or so and then the wind arrived along with the thought that we had better shift to plan B. We had hoped to reach a state park where we could camp for the night but we were going to run out of daylight and/or energy before we could get there. Plan B was to stay in Langtry because it listed a visitor center and we could camp on the old schoolhouse grounds. And the center had washrooms where we could rinse off the dust.
At the visitor center we were asked to wait a bit before setting up camp because the school was being used by a family reunion, descendents of the original settlers in the area. Langtry is the home of the legendary Judge Roy Bean, the “law west of the Pecos”. This family reunion has been going on for many years.. So we settled down on a bench and started to chow down on our emergency rations, cheese, peanut butter, bread. The only place for food around had already closed for the day by the time we arrived. In fact, it was the only one we’d come across for about 80 miles that day.
Then the guide at the visitor’s center came over to tell us that she had just spoken to the reunion folks and they’d invited us to dinner. We couldn’t refuse. We were welcomed like newly discovered family. The gentleman who greeted us promptly paid for our meals while we were still thanking him for letting us join the party. There were so many good things to eat but the featured dish was fried goat., Very tasty, it was. It’s a dish we had never had and haven’t come across since. We spent the next couple of hours telling people about our trip, learning about their families, listening carefully as they told us about the many interesting places we could yet see in that amazing place called Texas.
Bicycle trips have given us many moments like this, unexpected delights. You cannot plan this, you can only accept the gifts that come your way and enjoy them. This is not tourism where you select the menu items. This is a journey with a very sketchy outline. Most of our most memorable times have come after some of our most trying days on the road, where a good Samaritan enters our life. You keep those moments in your heart. It’s not just the natural beauty that draws us to travel on our bike it’s also the beauty in the people we meet.